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Beyond the Lemonade Stand: How to Teach High School Students Lean Startups

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | March 12, 2014

While the Lean LaunchPad class has been adopted by Universities and the National Science Foundation, the question we get is, “Can students in K-12 handle an experiential entrepreneurship class?” Hawken School has now given us an answer. Their seniors just completed the school’s first-ever 3-credit semester program in evidence-based entrepreneurship. Students are fully immersed in real-world learning … Continue reading »

Why Companies are not Startups

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | March 5, 2014

In the last few years we’ve recognized that a startup is not a smaller version of a large company. We’re now learning that companies are not larger versions of startups. There’s been lots written about how companies need to be more innovative, but very little on what stops them from doing so. Companies looking to … Continue reading »

Is This Startup Ready for Investment?

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | February 25, 2014

Since 2005 startup accelerators have provided cohorts of startups with mentoring, pitch practice and product focus. However, accelerator Demo Days are a combination of graduation ceremony and pitch contest, with the uncomfortable feel of a swimsuit competition. Other than “I’ll know it when I see it”, there’s no formal way for an investor attending Demo … Continue reading »

How to be Smarter than Your Investors — Continuous Customer Discovery

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | February 19, 2014

Teams that build continuous customer discovery into their DNA will become smarter than their investors, and build more successful companies. — Awhile back I blogged about Ashwin, one of my ex-students wanted to raise a seed round to build Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones) with a Hyper-spectral camera and fly it over farm fields collecting hyper-spectral images. These images, when … Continue reading »

What I Learned by Flipping the MOOC

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | February 11, 2014

Two of the hot topics in education in the last few years have been Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC’s) and the flipped classroom. I’ve been experimenting with both of them. What I’ve learned (besides being able to use the word “pedagogy” in a sentence) is 1) assigning students lectures as homework doesn’t guarantee the students will … Continue reading »

Sometimes it Pays to Be a Jerk

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | February 6, 2014

That he which hath no stomach to this fight, Let him depart; his passport shall be made William Shakespeare Henry V | Act 4, Scene 3 The concepts in my Lean LaunchPad curriculum can be taught in a variety of classes–as an introduction to entrepreneurship all the way to a graduate level “capstone class.” I recently learned being tough … Continue reading »

Time for Founders School

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | January 29, 2014

Having a film crew in your living room for two days is something you want to put on your bucket list. With a ~$2 billion endowment the Kauffman Foundation is the largest non-profit focused on entrepreneurship in the world. Giving away $80 million to every year (~$25 million to entrepreneurial causes) makes Kauffman the dominant player in the entrepreneurship space. … Continue reading »

Engineering a Regional Tech Cluster — Part 3 of Bigger in Bend

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | January 24, 2014

Dino Vendetti a VC at Bay Partners, moved up to Bend, Oregon on a mission to engineer Bend into a regional technology cluster.  Over the years Dino and I brainstormed about how Lean entrepreneurship would affect regional development. I visited Bend last year and caught up with his progress. Today with every city, state, country … Continue reading »

Early-stage Regional Venture Funds–Part 2 of 3 of Bigger in Bend

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | January 22, 2014

Dino Vendetti a VC at Bay Partners, moved up to Bend, Oregon on a mission to engineer Bend into a regional technology cluster.  Over the years Dino and I brainstormed about how Lean entrepreneurship would affect regional development. I visited Bend last year and caught up with his progress. Today with every city, state and … Continue reading »

Do Pivots Matter?

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | January 14, 2014

There’s a sign on the wall but she wants to be sure
’ Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings Led Zeppelin – Stairway to Heaven In late 2013 Cowboy Ventures did an analysis of U.S.-based tech companies started in the last 10 years, now valued at $1 billion. They found 39 of these companies.  They called them the “Unicorn Club.” … Continue reading »

Tesla and Adobe: Why Continuous Deployment May Mean Continuous Customer Disappointment

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | January 6, 2014

For the last 75 years products (both durable goods and software) were built via Waterfall development. This process forced companies to release and launch products by model years, and market new and “improved” versions. In the last few years Agile and “Continuous Deployment” has replaced Waterfall and transformed how companies big and small build products. Agile is … Continue reading »

Lessons Learned in Medical Devices

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | December 20, 2013

This post is part of our series on the National Science Foundation I-Corps Lean LaunchPad class in Life Science and Health Care at UCSF. Doctors, researchers and Principal Investigators in this class got out of the lab and hospital talked to 2,355 customers, tested 947 hypotheses and invalidated 423 of them.  The class had 1,145 engagements with instructors … Continue reading »

Lessons learned in digital health

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | December 19, 2013

This post is part of our series on the National Science Foundation I-Corps Lean LaunchPad class in Life Science and Health Care at UCSF. Part 1:  issues in the therapeutics drug discovery pipeline Part 2:  medical devices and digital health Part 3: described what we’re going to do about it. Part 4: This Will Save us Years – Customer Discovery in Medical … Continue reading »

We’ve seen the future of translational medicine and it’s disruptive

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | December 17, 2013

A team of 110 researchers and clinicians, in therapeutics, diagnostics, devices and digital health in 25 teams at UCSF, has just shown us the future of translational medicine.  It’s Lean, it’s fast, it works and it’s unlike anything else ever done. It’s going to get research from the lab to the bedside cheaper and faster. Welcome … Continue reading »

How Do You Want to Spend the Next 4 Years of Your Life?

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | December 10, 2013

As our Lean LaunchPad for Life Sciences class winds down, a good number of the 26 teams are trying to figure out whether they should go forward to turn their class project into a business. Given that we’ve been emphasizing Evidence-based entrepreneurship and the Investment Readiness Level, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when someone asked, “After … Continue reading »

It’s time to play Moneyball: The investment readinesslevel

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | November 25, 2013

Investors sitting through Incubator or Accelerator demo days have three metrics to judge fledgling startups – 1) great looking product demos, 2) compelling PowerPoint slides, and 3) a world-class team. We think we can do better. We now have the tools, technology and data to take incubators and accelerators to the next level. Teams can … Continue reading »

When product features disappear – Amazon, Apple, Tesla and the troubled future for 21st century consumers

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | November 21, 2013

One of the great innovations of the 21st century are products that are cloud-connected and update and improve automatically. For software, gone are the days of having to buy a new version of physical media (disks or CD’s.) For hardware it’s the magical ability to have a product get better over time as new features are automatically added. … Continue reading »

Lean LaunchPad for Life Sciences – Revenue Streams

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | November 18, 2013

We’re teaching a Lean LaunchPad class for Life Sciences and Health Care (therapeutics, diagnostics, devices and digital health) at UCSF with a team of veteran venture capitalists. The class has talked to 2,056 customers to date. Part 1:  issues in the therapeutics drug discovery pipeline Part 2:  medical devices and digital health Part 3: described what we’re going to … Continue reading »

Well, they ‘should’ be our customers

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | November 13, 2013

When scientists and engineers who’ve been working in the lab for years try to commercialize their technology, they often get trapped by their own beliefs  – including who the customers are, what features are important, pricing etc. One the key tenets of the Lean LaunchPad class is that every week each team gets out of … Continue reading »